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Gillibrand speaks at Wesley

U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Hudson, took the opportunity to talk war, energy policy and healthcare with about 100 seniors at the Wesley Healthcare Center in Saratoga Springs on Monday, Jan. 7.

The congresswoman received applause when she promoted the idea of a timely military withdrawal from Iraq.

Obviously, the war in Iraq has been something that people want to change, she said. "Iraq is our biggest issue."

Gillibrand said she and Congress are pushing for more oversight into the war, but that the president hasn't been receptive.

"When we look at Iraq, I don't think that the current administration has been pursuing the right strategy," she said. She proposes a military withdrawal as a means to spur independence in the Iraqi leaders, and cited the Anbar Province, where local warlords have joined together to fight insurgents.

"The question is: How do I make the leadership in Iraq make that same kind of deal?" she said. "I think if you say we're leaving in three months, six months, a year " the exact timetable isn't as important as telling them that we're leaving " my perception is that a timetable will motivate the local leaders to kick terrorists out."

Gillibrand added that if she could get a two-thirds majority in Congress (to override any presidential veto), that the war "would be over tomorrow," but conceded that "that's the area that [Democrats] haven't had the success that we've wanted to have."

But the freshman Congresswoman said there has been success in energy independence. She said she is working on a bill that would relieve automakers of revenue taxes for two years on any vehicle they produce that can get more than 60 miles per gallon.

"If that goes through, do you know how fast they would produce that car?" Gillibrand asked the assemblage at Wesley. "That fast."

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